I wrote this post a few weeks ago, then forgot about it. It's about how my mind drifted as I spent a whole day cooking.
Saturday, I pick carrots, beets, and green onions. Night temperatures are often in the 20s now, but the ground here doesn't freeze this early. My back gets tired, so I pick about half the carrots and onions.
And all the beets. What to do with the beets, I have no idea, but I have the Joy of Cooking, so I feel safe.
I notice baby spinach is still coming up, so I pick a lot Sunday morning with a few baby beet leaves. Looking around, I see that the collards still look good. I know if I pick them, I must cook them. My husband is in the Los Angeles burbs helping a friend, so, yes, if I pick them I must cook them and what do I know about southern cooking. You would think I would have learned some by now, but not really. Not wanting them to go to waste, I pick. Ouch, my back gets very tired, but I pick.
I pick, I clean, I rinse, I prep the other ingredients, fill the big pot with water, put it on the stove and start chopping. Boring, so I think. I think about my husband and how blessed I am that he loves to cook; I wonder what he thinks about when he chops, when he stands here cooking every day; how the gumbo he cooks for us and our friends for Christmas takes forever; how meticulous he is, how patient. Soon the first colander is done and I bring up the second from the sink.
Ouch, lots of greens in this one. My back hurts, this is taking forever. I think about the women, generations of them in the American South, who have stood as I stand now, chopping greens for their families. I see them, as I chop, in their kerchiefs and aprons, chopping collards, mustard, and other greens. We don't have greens in Sweden, but I think of one of their relatives, the cabbage. I see my mother making this Swedish dish called kaldolmar, I will not go into what that is, but I remember it as not being very good. My mom didn't like to cook either.
Then I think of how my mom had to cook, whether she liked it or not, because she had kids and a husband to cook for and that's how it was back then. Then I think that I never had children and how my stepson was only part of my life for a few brief years before he died at 24. Then I get morose again, and think how sad that is. Then I think of Summer, blogger friend Bobbi's granddaughter, Summer of the most interesting face on the blogs, an adorable child. So while not missing the actual children I never had, I now miss not having a grandchild.
While all this thinking goes on, the pot begins to boil almost at the same time my chopping is done. I take this as a good sign and put the greens in the pot, turn the heat down (hubby's instructions: "you must turn the heat down, you know, like when you cook rice") yes, I do know what simmer is, that I do know. I turn the heat down, set the alarm on my phone, without it these greens may cook all night. So I think about getting/being old and how this little timer on my phone is saving my butt over and over again. And then I still forget to post all this that I just wrote ~~ until now.
D. G. Hudson: My husband cooks greens with ham hocks and bacon, but he also cooks vegetarian greens and they come out heavenly, as does everything he cooks. Your suggestion to use Creole Seasonings really hit home. That's exactly what was missing. I put in plenty of seasonings, but not the Creole kind. Thanks so much for taking the time in your comment to suggest this. If there's ever a next time.......